A New Era of Utility DSM Portfolio Planning

Jun 15, 2014

​Utility executives and managers responsible for planning their DSM program portfolios often struggle to tie their demand side management (DSM) initiatives into broader integrated resource planning while typically relying on outdated tools such as spreadsheets or custom-build applications. Many utilities still indicate that they lack flexible and scalable methods that help them stay informed about their portfolio performance including the ability to easily simulate, model, and adjust the optimal mix of energy savings measures, administrative budgets and incentives, participants, and program scenarios for optimal cost-effectiveness and savings.

Another reason for utilities to come to grips with more effective planning and measure data management is the growing scrutiny of regulators and what is often a scramble to report accurate numbers to stakeholders and justify business investments.

While automated systems of record have added flexibility to the program management process, they have also instigated a desire among utilities to streamline and consolidate planning and forecasting for the future. New cloud-based approaches can serve as the missing piece of the puzzle for utilities and their stakeholders by enabling improved visibility, planning and forecasting. Some current industry trends to pay attention to in order to grow and scale your program and portfolio planning needs include:

  • Using an intuitive cloud-based interface to manage technical reference manual (TRM) measure assumptions and values
  • Having real-time visibility into projected portfolio performance by using online cost-effectiveness calculators
  • Easily monitoring program lifecycle trends and comparing effects of different sets of data on program cost-effectiveness
  • Using measure and input adjustment capabilities for consolidated program scenario simulation and analysis – all in a single, centralized system of record

So, are you planning your DSM portfolio in the new web and software-enabled world? If your answer is “no” it may be time to consider making the move to not only improve visibility and cost-effectiveness for your DSM programs, but also fully understand and plan for their impact on your broader resource planning in the near term and far down the road.